Ewan McGre­gor: Set to star in third se­ries of Fargo

De­spite his track record, Scot­tish-born ac­tor Ewan McGre­gor isn’t al­ways a fan of get­ting his kit off, writes HOLLY BYRNES

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - TASSIE LIVING -

FOR the record, as proud of his 45-year-old body as Ewan McGre­gor is, he would like it known he does not have a clause in his con­tracts to make nude scenes com­pul­sory.

Fans of the Scot­tish-born ac­tor who have seen plenty of McGre­gor in the raw over his 25-year ca­reer – in­clud­ing films Trainspot­ting, Vel­vet Gold­mine and Pil­low Book – might be sur­prised at this de­nial.

Still, in his new TV role – play­ing two broth­ers, Ray and Em­mit Stussy, in the third sea­son of FX se­ries Fargo – it doesn’t take long be­fore McGre­gor’s bare bot­tom is filling the small screen again.

It’s all for the story, the cheeky star in­sists, play­ing pa­role of­fi­cer Ray, who leaps from a bath he’s en­joy­ing with a co-star, half­way through episode one.

Devo­tees will also note he’s more out of shape as the mid­dle-aged Min­nesota man, pack­ing on the weight to play Ray. Be­sides the phys­i­cal and cre­ative chal­lenge of tack­ling the two parts (he also plays Ray’s more suc­cess­ful sib­ling and park­ing lot en­trepeneur Em­mit), McGre­gor rel­ished adding the inches to his waist­line.

“I’d been wait­ing for years to get that note ‘put on weight’ as op­posed to take it off,” McGre­gor says.

“It’s eas­ier to do than say my role in Son of a Gun when I had to be su­per mus­cly and fit … that takes ef­fort. The only ef­fort with this was mov­ing my jaw, eat­ing … so I just did that a lot.”

Ap­pear­ances aside, the movie star’s turn in Fargo’s 10-episode sea­son is a tour de force. While a fan of the film, made fa­mous by Billy Bob Thor­ton, McGre­gor had never seen the TV adap­ta­tion (star­ring Martin Free­man and Kirsten Dunst) “be­cause I thought it was a silly idea to make a tele­vi­sion se­ries of a movie we all know and love”.

“Then I bumped into one of [Fargo’s] pro­duc­ers when I was ski­ing and sat down and had lunch with him and we were talk­ing about shows on FX that I loved,” he says.

“I loved Bas­kets with Zac Gal­i­fi­anakis and any­thing with Louis CK I re­ally en­joy. He asked if I’d seen Fargo and I said I hadn’t and he said, ‘You should watch and check it out be­cause we’re cast­ing the third sea­son now and we’re look­ing for some­one to play two broth­ers’.”

De­spite watch­ing them out of or­der, sea­son two be­fore one, he was hooked and im­pressed at how creator Noah Haw­ley had man­aged to cap­ture the flavour, tone and look of the Coen Broth­ers film.

“I was very ex­cited to try to cre­ate two unique peo­ple, broth­ers, who are very dif­fer­ent personalities, dif­fer­ent physiques,” McGre­gor says.

“Some of my favourite ac­tors have done that, like Alec Guin­ness, and I’ve al­ways thought it was a mark of some­thing as an ac­tor to have the au­di­ence for­get you are play­ing ei­ther char­ac­ter.”

He would make the men­tal shift between the two, between scenes, mostly in the make-up chair – with Ray’s bald­ing look and ex­ag­ger­ated nose re­quir­ing two-and-a-half hours’ work.

With film­ing of the se­ries fin­ish­ing just last month, McGre­gor prom­ises it won’t be the last we see of him – naked or not – in TV: “I cer­tainly hope to do it again be­cause I like it. I came away feel­ing com­pletely sat­is­fied cre­atively, it was a great ex­pe­ri­ence.” FARGO WED­NES­DAY, 8.30PM, SBS


Ewan McGre­gor stars in the third sea­son of FX se­ries Fargo.

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